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Supreme Court Elections

November 02, 1986

We applaud your rational and reasonable editorial about Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird's reconfirmation. The fundamental issue, we feel, is quite different from what her opponents say it is. That issue is the blatant attempt by some right-wing extremists to put their to-be-appointed majority on the California Supreme Court. That's why they're also trying to defeat Associate Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso. The death penalty issue is really a red herring.

The court has meticulously lived up to the Constitution and the laws. If any change is wanted, change the law in the Legislature, not the court, which must remain independent of political winds and public emotions.

Since 1977 the Bird Court upheld more than 90% of the convictions and sentences it was called on to review as mandated by state law. Not one convicted murderer has been set free by any death-penalty reversal; the minimum sentences have been life in prison without possibility of parole.

Partisan politics has no place in the confirmation of California Supreme Court justices nor at lower level courts. To preserve the American system of checks and balances between the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government a large yes vote for Bird, Grodin and Reynoso as well as the others is essential on Nov. 4.

JOHN SAEMANN

Oakland

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